Monday, December 17, 2012

I Like It...

...when people I don't like adopt positions that I don't like. Less cognitive dissonance!

So I was very glad to see Holy Joe Lieberman, on his way out the door, endorse term limits (via Political Wire).

Holy Joe says that if we only had term limits, we would have more new blood...but there's of course plenty of new blood in both Chambers of Congress (I haven't double checked this one, but someone said on twitter last week that once we hit January half of the Senate will be in their first terms). But that's not all! He also claims that  term limits will reduce partisan polarization. How? He didn't exactly explain that part. But he doesn't like polarization, and he's decided that he likes term limits, so why not?

In fact, there's no reason at all to believe that term limits would have any effect at all on polarization. But it certainly would be bad for Congress, and bad for democracy, as I noted in my column over at TAP last week.

Okay, I'll give Holy Joe credit for another thing: he gave me an excuse to push my term limits column. That, plus reducing my cognitive dissonance? And, as regular readers know, I think that hypocrisy is overrated, so I can't be upset with him for just coming to support term limits now that he's retiring after 24 years in the Senate; it's no worse, in my book, than if he had supported it from day one and retired on cue after 12 years or whatever. So for today at least, I'm quite happy with Holy Joe Lieberman. Nice job!

12 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I can't hear someone avow support for term limits and not substitute, "I would like to cede control of the political system entirely to lobbyists, instead of the 75% they currently have. "

    It's democracy. The people who get the most votes get to keep the positions. They have accountability through running for reelection. It's not difficult.

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    1. It's like they didn't bother to look at the results. California has had term limits for thirty years. It sounded like a good idea, but so far it just means our politicians just rotate in and out of big-money; none are career in politics.

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    2. Alternative possibility: they support it because they have looked at the results.

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  3. Not quite half the Senate. By my count, assuming Kerry is appointed to the Senate, 38 will be serving their first terms. Heller, Wicker, Gillibrand, Bennet, Kirk, Barrasso and Manchin will be serving their first full terms. Coats is still in the first term of his second Senate tenure, but in his first tenure, he served the last four years of Dan Quayle's term and one term in his own right. So depending on how you count, there will be at most 46 and as few as 38 senators in their first terms.

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  4. What would we be supposed to do with all those future ex-Senators? In NYC we have term limits for the City Council and (more or less) for the Mayor, while NYS positions have no term limits. All we get out of this is some extra primaries against sitting officials and WAY too many people who mean to run for Mayor.

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  5. I think you think hypocrisy is underrated.

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    1. Overrated as a problem, I should have said.

      I suppose I also think it's underrated as a virtue, but that's not what I meant to say here.

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  6. Holy Joe? How about Holy Shit? That's all I've got.

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  7. It's somewhat ironic to discuss term limits just after we've all been eulogizing Senator Inouye, a man who represented his state in Congress since the state was created.

    At any rate, term limits are anti-democracy, and that's good enough reason to oppose them.

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  8. I always thought it odd that the basic argument in favor of term limits amounts to the notion that politicians would all be selfless philosopher-kings if not for the corrupting influence of public accountability.

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  9. Also worth noting, research suggecting that term limits lead to highr spending at the state level, according to Ed Lopez, guest-blogging at Marginal Revolution (http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2012/12/why-does-government-spending-increase-under-term-limits.html). Whether that's a benefit or term limits, or a cost, I leave to each of you to decide.

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